Now that the WGA strike has ended,
Ghost Whisperer will be among the first to film new episodes. In fact, the ink was barely dry on the new writers' contract when executive producer/head writer P.K. Simonds reported to work, rested and committed to his mission of making the remaining five episodes of this season the most compelling and groundbreaking yet. We were fortunate enough to catch up with Simonds in the midst of his heavily scheduled day to chat about what it's like to be back at work post-strike. -
TV Guide: I'll bet you're excited that the strike is over, when do you officially report to work?
I'm a producer and a writer so the union encouraged me to go to work this past Monday to fulfill my producer duties, and I went back to work with the writers when they all started working on Tuesday after everything was signed.
TV Guide: What was going back to work like? Any fresh, bold, new ideas for the show?
Well, you know it's funny because while we were off I didn't write anything at all and I spent a lot of time on the picket lines with the other writers, but you can't help thoughts that come into your head, and also, I would have dreams about the show. With time comes perspective and so there are some things that we had come up with before the strike that we realized weren't so brilliant and some other things that we looked at after the strike and realized were brilliant.
TV Guide: So when you met with the writers for the first time on Tuesday, did everything fall into place, or were there drastic changes to what you were working on?
In this business, you always go from 0 to 60. We thought that there would be this big ramp-up before we actually went back to work. But we went back to work immediately, so there was a lot of dusting off of old notes and looking at old storyboards and trying to remember where we were going with our ideas before the strike. We've been doing a lot of global thinking about the rest of the season now and where we want to go because we've lost abut five episodes because of the strike. We were originally supposed to do 25 shows for the season and now it looks like it will be 18 for the season. So we have to wrap things up more quickly.
TV Guide: Does that make your job harder when it comes to maintaining the story arc?
No, it's actually easier because it makes you tie everything up faster. But we definitely have to make some changes and adjustments.
TV Guide: Any major changes in vision that fans can look forward to?
Yes. [Melinda] had been in the process of learning some things about herself and her family and the town they moved to and it was all beneath the surface. Now we are going to plunge more deeply into that and bring it up to the surface. We have really established her mythology, meaning where she comes from, who she is, who her family is. Storytelling for TV is a rolling process so with this fresh perspective that the strike has given us, we're going to revisit all of that. These are good problems to have because we want to satisfy ourselves as writers and also the audience.
TV Guide: So taking the time off to let your brains rest will probably lead to the most exciting season ever?
The strike was good in a few ways, it was not so good in others. For the writing process, it was good to take a break and step back. One thing about TV is that it gives you the gift of being in a room with other writers and coming up with great ideas, but when you are together all the time it's hard to have new ideas and perspective and the time off gave us that. So yes, we have some exciting things we are working on. On the other hand, financially it was hard on a lot of people but hopefully going back to work and finishing off our season will allow people to recoup some of that money, because we only lost five episodes and we have more to do to finish the season.
TV Guide: Is your family happy or sad to see you go back to work?
They are sad. Every night we say prayers at home and we say special prayers for people who are sick and when the strike was on, I asked my kids to say a special prayer for the strike to end and they wouldn't do it. They didn't want me to go back to work. Finally they did, and the strike ended, so that goes to show the power of prayer.
TV Guide: Are you happy with the results of the strike? You didn't get everything, but you got a lot.
Yes, you never get everything, but the strike was a good thing in that it strengthened our union and showed how unified we are, and hopefully it will embolden other unions to fight for what they want as well. Also, we made a lot of long-term gains that writers will benefit from for years.
" Ghost Whisperer celebrity blog: Back to Work!